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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Page: 37

Senator WILLIAMS (4:23 PM) —On behalf of Senator Troeth and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present report No. 9 of 2008, Referrals tabled June-September 2008. I seek leave to move a motion in relation to the report.

Leave granted.

Senator WILLIAMS —I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

I seek leave to incorporate a tabling statement in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present the committee’s ninth report of 2008, Referrals made June to September 2008.

The report covers four referrals made to the Committee during this time, being:

  • The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Radio Telescope, or ASKAP, to be built in Western Australia at an estimated cost of $111 million;
  • Fit-out for the Australian Federal Police of the Edmund Barton Building, in the ACT at an estimated cost of $115 million;
  • Redevelopment of Puckapunyal Base in Victoria at an estimated cost of $41.650 million; and
  • The Australian War Memorial Eastern Precinct Development and National Service Memorial also in Canberra at an estimated cost of $19.54 million.

The committee has recommended that all four projects proceed, without qualifications. The only additional recommendation it has made is in relation to the ASKAP project. The committee supports this project and believes it will bring significant benefits to the field of radio astronomy and to Western Australia. However, the committee had concerns that there were some delays in land acquisition and, to mitigate risk to the Commonwealth, has recommended that land negotiations be completed prior to construction contracts being let.

The new Australian Federal Police headquarters is long overdue and the committee is pleased to recommend that the fit-out of the Edmund Barton Building proceed. The committee was assured that this heritage-listed building will meet the AFP’s current and future needs as well as providing a childcare centre and a café, completing the original architectural vision for the building.

The redevelopments for Puckapunyal Base in Victoria will provide much needed upgrades to office and training facilities. In the past nine months this committee has visited a number of Defence bases, and the site inspection of Puckapunyal Base left it without a doubt that the proposed upgrades are badly needed.

Finally, the committee has recommended that the Australian War Memorial Eastern Precinct Development and National Service Memorial proceed. For those senators who have recently visited the War Memorial, you will be aware that the dirt car park in the Eastern Precinct is an eyesore that detracts from this important national monument. This development will place parking underground and behind the memorial, restoring a eucalypt garden in the Eastern Precinct that will be linked to a new, more accessible, café.

This proposal also includes siting for the National Servicemen’s Memorial to commemorate those who were called up and served in the forces between 1951 and 1972. The planned memorial is a testament to those who served and is a fitting addition to this region of the memorial.

I would like to thank the members and senators on the committee for their work in relation to these inquiries. I commend this report to the House.

Question agreed to.